New York Times
It can only be welcome when Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, starts competing with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for recognition as the Middle East's most important peacemaker. President Bush should make the most of this opportunity in his two days of meetings with Mr. Mubarak later this week. Any momentum generated should be carried forward into Mr. Bush's Monday session with Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon.
In an interview earlier this week with Patrick Tyler and Neil MacFarquhar of The Times, Mr. Mubarak said he would offer Mr. Bush a detailed plan built around American support for a declaration of Palestinian statehood early next year, with negotiations to follow on unresolved issues like borders, Jerusalem and refugees. ...
More important than the specific details of Mr. Mubarak's plan is his claimed willingness to take an active role in renewed regional peacemaking efforts, building on the Arab League proposal initiated by Prince Abdullah earlier this year. ...
Washington should be moving toward convening a regional peace conference in the next few months that brings Israelis and Palestinians together with representatives of America, Russia, the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League. An end to the current violence would improve the atmosphere for such a conference, but should not be a precondition for summoning it. Diplomacy cannot be paralyzed while the killing continues.
The purpose of a regional conference would be to issue a joint statement of ultimate goals and outline a step-by-step path to achieving them. These would include secure and defensible borders for Israel through the exchange of land in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for a durable peace.
Similar principles underlie Prince Abdullah's plan, Mr. Mubarak's ideas and the Bush administration's own long-range vision for the region. Translating principles into specifics has always been the problem. An American-organized peace conference, with constructive help from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, can renew the search for solutions.
Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, sometimes behaves like a man with a death wish. With India demanding that he take action against Islamic terrorists carrying out attacks across the border in Kashmir, he last week stressed his support for those resisting Indian rule in the disputed province -- and vowed to move into "the enemy's territory" if India dared to take military action against Pakistan.
As if that weren't enough to infuriate his foe, whose army is twice the size of Musharraf's, his speech came right after Pakistan had carried out tests of missiles capable of hitting Indian cities. Musharraf has also pledged to answer any Indian attack "with full might." Indians took that as a threat that he would meet a conventional incursion with nuclear weapons.
Pakistan could certainly inflict millions of casualties on India by pulling the nuclear trigger -- but only at the cost of seeing its cities obliterated by India's own nuclear warheads. With tensions rising by the day, Musharraf seems determined to precipitate a war his country is bound to lose.
The Pakistani ruler is not suicidal. He is simply trying to use brinkmanship to advance his own political ends. But it's a dangerous game regardless. ...
India has every right to demand that Pakistan cut off help to terrorists. But it needs to offer Pakistanis some hope of resolving the Kashmir crisis by means short of violence. New Delhi compares its fight against terrorism to that of the U.S. after Sept. 11. If the Taliban had possessed nuclear weapons, however, President Bush might have had to accept the need for compromise, however distasteful.
The governments of Pakistan and India have understandable reasons for the saber rattling that has gone on in recent weeks. But if war breaks out and ends in a nuclear holocaust, those purposes will look awfully inadequate.
Dallas Morning News
There is a disconnect between the Bush administration's recent admission that global warming is real and that human activity is largely to blame and its failure to take determined measures to address the problem. The risk to President Bush is that the situation could disconnect him from substantial numbers of voters who are worried about the environment when he runs for re-election in 2004.
Mr. Bush entered office doubting that global warming was real. He rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels. He retracted his campaign pledge to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas. He proposed an energy policy that emphasized fossil fuels -- the burning of which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- over renewable energy.
Now, in a new report to the United Nations, his administration comes around to accepting the scientific consensus that global warming is real and that man is the culprit. ... But having appropriately changed its opinion about global warming, the administration shortsightedly fails to change its policy prescription. ...
The administration should reconsider its global warming strategy. The level of the threat -- to the environment and to Mr. Bush's political fortunes if he alienates voters who worry about their children's legacy -- demands it.
Los Angeles Times
The Bush administration needs a policy on Iraq more detailed than intense dislike of its dictator, Saddam Hussein. The place for that policy to start is not with toppling Hussein, at least not until there's a much better picture of what that would entail and what kind of regime would succeed him. Begin by insisting that U.N. weapons inspectors be readmitted by the end of summer and allowed to inspect anything, anywhere, at any time. Allies skeptical about overthrowing Hussein can get behind an inspection demand.
In his commencement address to West Point cadets Saturday, President Bush spoke of "preemptive action" against terrorist threats, not mentioning Iraq by name and not needing to. ...
If the Security Council insists that Iraq stop stalling, Hussein has the choice of living without weapons of mass destruction--or risking his life in a war trying to keep them.
The Bush administration keeps looking for Iraqi exiles who may be able to get enough support inside the country to help topple the tyrant, although that quest has been futile so far. Hussein's brutal security forces and spies keep turning up real and imagined foes to be tortured and executed.
Hussein should not be allowed to keep developing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence agencies say that's exactly what he's doing; their reports gain credibility from Baghdad's refusal to admit inspectors. If the door stays barred, Washington will have more support from its allies in Europe and elsewhere for other options.
There was radiation in the air around an Asian summit yesterday, though not because certain attendees had actually launched their nuclear weapons. But they were talking about it. Russian President Vladimir Putin had offered to broker a peace between Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the 15-nation summit that ends today, but he failed, miserably.
While Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee refused even to shake the hand of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the Pak general defended his right to use nuclear weapons first. Mr. Putin failed to even get a commitment from Mr. Vajpayee to go to Moscow for another round. But Mr. Putin's effort, while well-intentioned, held little promise to begin with. With Russia fighting its own separatist movement in Chechnya, Mr. Putin was an unlikely moderator. Not to mention that Kazakhstan's capital of Almaty -- where people have suffered under the rule of the former communist dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev -- is hardly the city to satisfy democratic yearnings. Now is the time for America to step to the forefront as mediator in a conflict that would otherwise show no signs of cooling in the near future.
"We're sitting on a powder keg and we don't want it to explode in our faces," Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Pakistan's information minister from 1997 to 1999, told editors and reporters recently at The Washington Times. He said U.S. intelligence agencies and troops must act delicately in trying to assist in a resolution, but that America is vitally needed to act as a neutral mediator. ...
America's first resolution should be to prevent war in the region by insisting that both sides stop their war rhetoric and pull back their troops from the Line of Control. ...
Two nuclear powers moving toward war should be given first priority on the Bush administration's foreign policy agenda. With Mr. Putin's failure hanging heavy over two countries with ticking time bombs -- and nuclear ones at that -- there is no better time for the United States to encourage both countries to step back from the awful precipice of war.
(Compiled by United Press International)